On May 23, 2017, Governor Dayton signed critical legislation to protect Minnesota businesses from “drive-by” ADA lawsuits. The amendment will affect lawsuits alleging “architectural barriers” at places of public accommodation. Now, before filing a lawsuit, a person’s attorney must send a “safe harbor” notice to the business giving the business 60 days to remove the noted barrier (and up to an additional 30 days if weather prevents timely removal).
Although no such notice is required to bring a claim under federal ADA law, this amendment may significantly reduce so-called “drive-by” ADA lawsuits plaguing Minnesota businesses by taking away a “drive-by” plaintiff’s ability to claim damages. Without a claim for money damages, there is less incentive to filing a lawsuit for the individual, and less risk to challenging the lawsuit for the business.
The legislation strikes an important balance between a person’s right to access on the one hand and protecting businesses from individuals and attorneys who try to take advantage of the laws on the other. The amendment is effective immediately.
For more information on ADA compliance, contact Joseph A. Gangi at 507-625-2525.